International Collaboration to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure by Stem Cell Transplantation

IciStem is a collaborative project to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure in HIV-infected patients requiring allogeneic stem cell transplantation for hematological disorders.

The IciStem consortium is composed of an expert European review panel of hematologists with experience in allogeneic SCT procedures along with infectious disease specialists, virologist and immunologists with expertise in the field of HIV-1 tropism, reservoirs and cure.

We prospectively study allogeneic SCT recipients with HIV-1 infection, collecting complete information on underlying malignancy, chemotherapy, transplant procedure, donor selection, HIV-tropism, cART, and virological and immunological characteristics of a variety of samples before and after the transplant.

IAS Cure Strategy

A new Cure strategy, developed by the International AIDS Society (IAS) was published on July 11th, 2016, in the journal Nature Medicine:


European Project to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure by Stem Cell Transplantation (EpiStem)

DURBAN, 18 July 2016 --- EpiStem is an observational project, which studies HIV infected patients who receive stem cells from another person (Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation). The patients all undergo this procedure because of life-threatening hematological conditions. The project aims to improve the interventions to cure these patients with the additional aim to better understand the biological mechanisms leading to reduction of viral reservoirs in the body and to identify potential cases of HIV-1 eradication/remission. EpiStem is not a clinical trial, but systematically monitors the patients before and for extensive periods of time after the stem cell transplantation.

The EpiStem investigators form a European Consortium of hematologists, infectious disease specialists, virologists, immunologists and blood/tissue bank specialists from France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom who collaborate with clinicians globally to enroll patients to study blood and tissue samples before and after the stem cell transplantation. The project is co-led by Javier Martinez-Picado, ICREA researcher from the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute (Barcelona, Spain), and Annemarie Wensing, clinical virologist from the University Medical Center Utrecht (Netherlands). Funding comes from amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE), a program from the US Foundation for AIDS Research, amfAR.

The IciStem project is supported by AmfAR Research Consortium on HIV eradication (ARCHE) Research Grant # 109293-59-RGRL